Basti's Scratchpad on the Internet

Posts tagged "org-journal":

03 Jun 2018

Syncing Org-Journal with your Calendar

A month ago, org-journal learned to deal with future journal entries. I use future journal entries for appointments or not-yet-actionable tasks that I don't want in my current TODO list just yet. This works really well while I am at my computer, and really does not work at all when I am not (Orgzly does not work with my 1k-file journal directory).

But, as I keep re-discovering, org-mode already has a solution for this: org-mode can export your agenda to an iCalendar file! Most calendar applications can then subscribe to that file, and show your future journal entries right in your calendar. And if you set it up right, this will even sync changes to your calendar!

First, you need to set up some kind of regular export job. I use a cron job that regularly runs an Emacs batch job emacs --batch --script ~/bin/calendar_init.el with the following code in calendar​_init.el:

;; no init file is loaded, so provide everything here:
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/etc/org-journal/")
(setq org-journal-dir "~/journal/"            ; where my journal files are
      org-journal-file-format ""  ; their file names
      org-journal-enable-agenda-integration t ; so entries are on the agenda
      org-icalendar-store-UID t               ; so changes sync correctly
      org-icalendar-include-todo "all"        ; include TODOs and DONEs
      org-icalendar-combined-agenda-file "~/calendar/org-journal.ics")

(require 'org-journal)
(org-journal-update-org-agenda-files) ; put future entries on the agenda
(org-icalendar-combine-agenda-files)  ; export the ICS file
(save-buffers-kill-emacs t)           ; save all modified files and exit

It is important to set org-icalendar-store-UID, as otherwise every change to a future entry would result in a duplicated calendar entry. It will clutter up your journal entries with an UID property, though.

I do this on my web server, with my journal files syncthinged from my other computers. With that, I can subscribe to the calendar file from any internet-connected computer or mobile phone (using ICSdroid). But you could just as well sync only the ICS file, or just subscribe to the local file, if you don't want to upload your complete yournal to a web server.

(Incidentally, I first implemented my own ICS export, before realizing that this functionality already existed in org-mode. It was a fun little project, and I learned a lot about org-mode's internal data structures and the weirdness that are iCalendar files.)

Tags: org-journal

Scheduling Future TODOs in org-journal

I keep a simple journal in org-journal: One text file per day, in org-mode. But over the years, org-journal has grown somewhat beyond this simple use case. About three years ago, a gentleman named Vladimir Kazanov implemented a very fast text search. Thus, my journal became an information archive. About two years ago, org-journal learned to carry over TODO items to the current day if you hadn't completed them on the previous day. So it to become a to-do list. And today, org-journal gained the ability to work with future journal entries, thus becoming a calendar.

Despite all of these features however, org-journal remains one org file per day, with fancy functions to do fancy things if you want them—or ignore them, if the journal is all you need.

Back to scheduling: This work was prompted by my colleague, who organizes everything in org-mode, but is not a user of org-journal. He even eschews the use of a traditional calendar, and instead uses a few org files and the magic of org-agenda to give him a nice overview like this for the coming week[1]:

Week-agenda (W14):
Monday     2 April 2018 W14
  2018-04-02: Easter Monday 
Tuesday    3 April 2018
Wednesday  4 April 2018
Thursday   5 April 2018
  2018-04-05: Scheduled:  Give Lecture 4 on Applied Programming             :BB:
Friday     6 April 2018
  2018-04-06: Scheduled:  Release of new Eels record
Saturday   7 April 2018
Sunday     8 April 2018
  2018-04-08: Scheduled:  TODO Celebrate Sunday

And lo and behold, this now works in org-journal as well! Just create a new journal entry in the future, either by pressing i j in M-x calendar or by calling org-journal-new-scheduled-entry, and org-journal will create an entry with a SCHEDULED property of the appropriate date (prefix to suppress TODO). When the current day reaches that entry, it will incorporate it into the daily journal.

Future journal entries are highlighted in M-x calendar, and you can get an overview of them with org-journal-schedule-view, or, if you enable org-journal-enable-agenda-integration, through the ordinary org-agenda, as shown above. The agenda integration does not include past journal entries in the agenda, since agenda searches tend to become very slow if they have to traverse the hundreds of files in my journal.

[1]: This is of course not his calendar, but mine.